ACWA and Member Agencies Testify on SGMA at State Water Board Meeting

  • by Will Holbert
  • Jun 3, 2020
  • Water News

The State Water Resources Control Board received an update from Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State Water Board staff on progress under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) during its June 2 meeting.

ACWA Regulatory Advocate Melissa Sparks-Kranz participated during the testimony, underlining ACWA’s support for SGMA, particularly its recognition of the need for local, outcome-based metrics and action toward sustainability. Two member agencies, Tulare Irrigation District General Manager Aaron Fukuda and City of Roseville Hydrogeologist Trevor Joseph, provided on-the-ground perspectives of how SGMA is moving forward in both critically overdrafted and non-critically overdrafted basins.

“One of the foundational pillars of SGMA is that sustainably is best achieved locally,” Sparks-Kranz emphasized. “We appreciate the Department and State Water Board staff for continuing to support SGMA as a locally driven planning process and for reinforcing that local management is the most effective way to achieve groundwater sustainability.”

ACWA’s advocacy on SGMA includes the recent publication of “A Technical Framework for Increasing Groundwater Replenishment” in late 2019, providing a toolbox of strategies for on-the-ground GSAs and practitioners to deploy innovative groundwater projects and management actions to support overall groundwater replenishment.

SGMA is now entering a critical phase as groundwater sustainability agencies turn from planning to implementation efforts, while the DWR reviews 46 groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) for the critically overdrafted basins. DWR has two years to complete the review and determine if plans are adequate, where the overall goal is to achieve groundwater sustainability within 20 years.

To date, DWR has made available approximately $10 million for planning assistance, $20 million for technical assistance and $150 million for financial assistance for development and implementation of GSPs. DWR staff shared with the State Water Board Members that $200 million would be made available across all three areas during the next five years, reinforcing the need for state investment to support local SGMA implementation.

 

 

 

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